In the first quarter of the twentieth century, the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) was founded and succeeded in attracting significant numbers of members.
There was, however, a fundamental deception in the establishment of this organization: while it called itself a ‘party,’ it was not a political party in the sense that the ‘Democratic Party’ or the ‘Republican Party’ or even the ‘Libertarian Party’ are parties.
The CPUSA was, in fact, organized to instigate, in its own words, a ‘violent revolution’ to overthrow the United States government, to abolish the liberties and rights of U.S. citizens, to establish a communist dictatorship, and to do all of this by whatever means necessary, including loss of human life.
By claiming to be a political party, the CPUSA was concealing the fact that it was terrorist organization. It was ready to commit acts of sabotage and assassination. It did commit acts of espionage and disinformation. The CPUSA functioned as a branch of the Soviet military and as part of the Soviet intelligence community.
One Soviet agent, Alger Hiss, managed to start a career for himself in the State Department, and eventually rose to such high levels that he was giving face-to-face foreign policy guidance to the President of the United States. Hiss was, however, advising the president to act, not in the interests of the citizens of the United States, but rather to act in ways which would benefit the Soviet Union.
How did a confirmed Soviet spy obtain a secure position inside the United States government? The Assistant Secretary of State, Adolph Berle, attempted to alert the State Department to Hiss’s activity, but to no avail. As historian William F. Buckley writes,
Responsible officials, both in the State Department and in the White House, were twice informed about Alger Hiss. Mr. Adolph A. Berle relayed Mr. Whittaker Chambers’ report on Hiss to his superiors in 1939. In 1943, Chambers spoke with the FBI, who presumably submitted the information to the State Department. There was either a conspiracy of silence among those officers who knew the information about Hiss, or else they were so persuaded by pro-Communist propaganda, much of it of their own making, that they simply did not think it made much difference whether or not Hiss was a Communist. The last is less astounding if one recalls the celebrated statement of the influential Mr. Paul Appleby, of the Bureau of the Budget: “A man in the employ of the government has just as much right to be a member of the Communist Party as he has to be a member of the Democratic or Republican Party.”
The Soviet intelligence agencies could not have made such substantial inroads inside the United States government without the presence of those civil servants who either were knowingly and willingly aiding the international communist conspiracy, or were convinced that it was ‘no big deal.’
Sadly, it was a big deal, for the millions who died in China after the communist takeover in 1949, for those who died in the Korean war, for those who died in the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and for those who died in the Prague Spring of 1968.